Garden log, 6.27.13

Another busy work week, with little time spent in the garden.

I knew that I had a busy week ahead when I stopped by Big Bloomers Flower Farm on my way home from a trip last weekend. That did not stop me from buying 3 cardboard flats full of perennials, plus a few annuals that were on sale.  I have planted exactly one flat’s worth.

That’s okay, because nothing has died yet and I think this weekend I’ll make good progress on a new garden bed I’m starting. No name for it yet, but it will run along my neighbor’s fence, between the fence and the back of the rain garden. In my mind it looks fantastic.

The crinums are blooming, probably because of all the rain. I don’t remember them ever blooming this early. I cut back the rose campion to keep it from dropping seed everywhere–I have enough of it–and planted nicotiana and portulaca from Big Bloomers.The Monarda I acquired from a gardening friend earlier this year has bloomed, and instead of red, it’s wine-colored. It’s beautiful, but because of its color, it’s in the wrong place. I think it will look excellent in the blue slope, though, so that’s where I’m moving it. And in the process, I found some lily bulbs that haven’t ever done anything. I dug those up and am potting them, little scale chips and all, into a flat to see if I can propagate them.

Hemerocallis ‘Chicago Royal’ and ‘Ferris Wheel’ have recovered from the deer visit a week ago. I haven’t been able to apply the Plantskydd, though, because it needs 24 hours to be rainproof and we haven’t had a guarantee of 24 hours without rain since the visit. I’m too stingy with the stuff to risk it. All things in time, I suppose.

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Cultivating patience

Of all the produce yielded by the habit and practice of gardening, perhaps the most important product is patience. I often believe I have this in short supply; perhaps the mice in my shed eat it. But despite what may be observed at, say, the Chicago Flower and Garden Show, which I used to attend regularly when I lived in the Windy City, nature will not be rushed.  So patience is forced upon me.

purple hellebore

Most of my hellebores I acquired from my neighbor Martha, and are the standard white and rose-colored ones. But a few years ago on my annual pilgrimage to Big Bloomers Flower Farm, I decided to spring for a hellebore in a different color and spice up the mix a bit. I thought I was getting a blackish-blue one, and of course by now I’ve lost the tag and can’t find the scrap of paper on which I scribbled down the name. I’ve waited two years for it to bloom.

Finally, it is blooming. As you can see, it’s not blackish blue, but a deep violet-burgundy. It has been in this bud stage for three weeks but has refused to open up.

Today is the day.

purple hellebore profile

It grows much closer to the ground than my other hellebores; it’s only about 4 inches tall. I must kneel with my ear to the ground, literally, to look into its blossom. This is not a becoming posture for me so, wishing not to be an unpleasant neighbor, I decided perhaps I’d better just turn its face up to me instead.

purple hellebore in bloom

I had a lovely lunch with my friend Ginger today. We are a generation apart in age but we have similar professional backgrounds and interests. Our conversation turned to hellebores and we decided we may try to explore the hellebore specialist Pine Knot Farms together one of these days. Perhaps they can identify this one for me. I think they originally grew it, actually.

It was a long wait for this little guy, but worth it, not least for its perpetual reminder that everything happens in its own time. If I am lucky, patience may prove for me to be one of those volunteers that pops up in the garden out of nowhere; one that I know for certain I did not plant but am thrilled to see. If I am honest with myself I will want it to grow six inches a day and flower abundantly for six months. I am determined, though, to nurture it so that though it may grow very slowly, it will be sturdy and resilient.